Ethiopia wants Eritrea matches moved to neutral stadium

The Ethiopia Football Association has asked the Confederation of African Football to move its African Nations Championship qualifiers with Eritrea to a neutral venue.

The request comes as the neighboring countries continue to dispute borders.

The teams are set to play in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, between 14-16 January, with the return tie in Addis Ababa set for two weeks later.

But Ethiopia said they would not travel to the Red Sea state.

ethiopian soccer team

“We want the matches to take place, but we’re not willing to travel there and it is obvious their government won’t allow their team to visit Addis Ababa,” said Ethiopian Football Federation spokesman Melaku Ayele.

“So we’ve proposed an alternative venue, neighboring Sudan, for both matches to be held in.”

Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a border war between 1998-2000 that killed tens of thousands of troops. A Hague-based independent border commission ruled that the flashpoint town of Badme belonged to Eritrea but the village remains in the hands of Ethiopia and the spat remains unresolved.

Asmara is yet to respond to Ethiopia’s request, Melaku said.

The African Nations Championship, played every two years, is the continent’s second biggest tournament in which only domestic-based players can take part.

Ethiopia, nicknamed the Walyas, recently sealed a spot at the more glamorous Africa Cup of Nations finals set for January after a three-decade absence.

Ethiopia and Eritrea were last pitched against each other in 1998 in a qualifying round for the 2000 African Nations Cup, just months after fighting broke out along their sun-blasted border.

Ethiopia declined to take part in those matches.

Source:BBC Sport


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